Mesalands receives donation of equipment

The North American Wind Research and Training Center at Mesalands Community College recently received a 70-kilovolt discharge stick for in-class training from Megger, a Valley Forge, Pa., based manufacturer of electrical testing and measuring equipment. The discharge stick is used to safely remove the static charge from equipment and other voltage retaining components, upon performing maintenance work. The College will use this donation to enhance the curriculum and hands-on training of the Wind Energy Technology Program, in order to better prepare technicians for a lucrative career in the industry.

"Megger is the industry standard for test equipment and unique tools, so to receive Megger tools for our Wind Program has been a great opportunity for our students," Jim Morgan, director of the North American Wind Research and Training Center said. "We plan to use the discharge stick to augment the training of our technicians, so when they are working with high voltage lines they will know how to utilize the discharge stick in order to keep a large separation between their body and the wiring."

Morgan says this skill will benefit students in the industry when needing to replace fuses and complete disconnects from a distance to avoid the dangers of high electrical voltage.

"It's good for us to have hands-on knowledge of the discharge stick and to see how this equipment operates," Tom Smith, Wind Energy Technology student at Mesalands Community College said. "The more things that we can touch and take apart and put back together, or utilize here on our wind turbine, the better off we will be when we graduate. There's a classroom aspect of learning and of course there's the actually hands-on experience and the two go hand and hand."

Megger has been providing equipment for students at the new Wind Center since 2008 when Megger donated more than $9,000 in electrical testing equipment. Last year Megger donated battery testing equipment to the Wind Energy Technology Program, that is now being used to evaluate the overall health of the batteries utilized in the College's on-campus 1.5 megawatt wind turbine, and during class demonstrations regarding battering technology.

David Danner, sales manager at Megger, stated he was very pleased to provide the piece of equipment.

"We find that wind technicians are trained in mechanical, but when it comes to electrical, it's still kind of a mystery. That's why Megger is so fired up about providing the latest and greatest electrical testing equipment," Danner said. "Megger has a great interest in renewable energy. Whatever we can do to support the program, we are all about it."

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